The Revd George Conger--who reports regularly for The Living Church, as well as producing free-lance journalism--has broken the news on Religious Intelligence that a new plan is afoot, brokered by some leading conservatives including Drs Ephraim Radner and Christopher Seitz and Archbishop Drexel Gomez, and apparently now with the imprimatur of the Presiding Bishop, to meld some of the elements of two earlier plans which were essentially stillborn--that of the Dar es Salaam Communique, and the PB's own Episcopal Visitors plan--in an effort to avert the daily widening schism both within the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion.
With the caveat that my own response is based on a first reading of Father Conger’s article, and without the benefit of seeing the actual document which is the subject of the article, it strikes me that this may have been a significant development had it occurred six months ago, but that too much water has flowed under the bridge for it to be of any substantive effect now. This saddens me, because there was no doubt a time when something such as this might have “worked” to avert the sort of pandemic schism Anglicanism now faces. It may very well be, on its own terms, a good plan. But I fear that, from a practical political standpoint, it is too little too late. With the increasing evidence that the GAFCON leaders are not bluffing about skipping Lambeth, something rather more drastic than this is needed to coax them back into the tent. The only move that would be effective in this regard would have to be something that would be seen and experienced as a “defeat” for the Episcopal Church establishments (PB, 815 staff, Executive Council), something that Canterbury and/or the Joint Standing Committee would make them “eat” against their will. There needs to be a perception that TEC has been duly “punished,” even if on an interim basis, if the momentum of GAFCON is to be blunted. This may or may not be right, proper, or just. But it is political reality. IMHO, the Windsor Report, and the ensuing “process,” already contain the infrastructure for such a move. We don’t need to invent anything further; somebody needs to use the tools that are already on the table.
(Please see Covenant for more discussion of this issue.)